With his meditative, surrealistic, almost Dadaistic photography, Gilbert Garcin highlights the inconsistencies and misery of the human condition. His images are truly striking in their symbolic power and their skillful blend of humour and gravity. His surprising work casts its spell because it leads us to face existential questions on the meaning of our living and the relationship with the world around us.
THE TRANSIENT NATURE OF THE HUMAN CONDITION.
The compositions of Gilbert Garcin conjure a sweetly existential universe. His miniature black and white images playfully lure the viewer into a whimsically satirical world in which the artist is an intrepid explorer.
Hard not to associate Garcin with the detachment from the world of some of Magritte characters; or with the poignant expressions of the surreal humour of Samuel Beckett and Eugène Ionesco’s theater of the absurd. By focusing on a humorous portrayal of the transient nature of our existence, Garcin creates scenes that are often comical and absurd.
In his work he shows us obvious things that concern us all: the meaninglessness of the modern world, life passing by, the fleeting nature of time, the tenacity one needs to keep going. Each image openly deriding the folly and more fundamental absurdities of the human condition.
THE PERSPECTIVE OF AGE.
A self-taught photographer, Gilbert Garcin first delved into the photographic arts in his mid-sixties when, after an entire life as a lighting fixture factory owner in Marseilles, he transitioned onto the art of light, becoming one of the most peculiar photographers of his time, with tens of publications and exhibitions all over the world.
At age 66 Gargin began to photograph himself, creating a useful database that allowed his character’s face to remain timeless in spite of the years passed. Always the same age, always in the same gloomy attire, as a lone figure, a bit shabby-looking and slightly absent-minded, as if absorbed in thought. So was born a simple anonymous character in his grey coat and hat sometimes called Mister G.
Combining the vivid energy of a new-found creative form with the perspective of age, Garcin succeeded in creating a very personal style, a dreamlike world where his compositions are both witty and profound, simple and ingenious, always surreal.
SOLITARY FIGURES NAVIGATING SURREAL LANDSCAPES.
Garcin’s profound and masterful compositions are a representation of anonymity and constant condition, despite the changing surroundings. The situations he presents in his small surrealist installations all have one thing in common: a highly developed sense of the absurd and self-mockery.
Garcin’s ingenious black-and-white photographs are created using small sets, props, strings, glue and scissors to create a singular, surreal microcosm where Garcin places an image of himself, cut out from his own self-portraits.
The starting point is simple, clean, revealing. Always the same age, a little elderly gentleman in a plain, gray overcoat, mysteriously grappling with the sets of cardboard and string, sand and sticks, light and shadow; a solitary figure navigating spare, surreal landscapes populated by strange seashells, puppet strings, oversized flowers. The world is a mirror for Garcin, a mirror that in the end always sends back the same picture.
A SKILLFUL BLEND OF HUMOUR AND GRAVITY.
Existential themes are behind such visually powerful images. Gilbert Garcin’s meditative, surrealistic compositions are truly striking in their symbolic power and their skillful blend of humor and gravity. With his work Garcin highlights the inconsistencies and misery of human existence, as well as the struggle with the boring repetitions of everyday life that overwhelms and suffocates us.
His works offer a different response depending on the intensity of the one who looks: they are not dramatic, nor closed symbols but pieces of an open story, evocations of the emotion caused by a surprise. His photographs seem to ask naive and, at the same time, extremely wise questions. Choosing the black and white austerity weighs in his favour: it allows him to master the medium skillfully and puts his images within the heritage of films that tell stories and are based on a gesture, or a scape, a silence, a light effect, a stopped scene.
Garcin crafts his visions entirely by hand, in his studio; he assembles the set, carefully illuminates it and then takes his shoot. Unlike other contemporary photographers, Garcin’s pictures are entirely hand-made, without the aid of any digital technology. Incredibly enough, there is no Photoshop or other digital photo manipulation in Garcin shots. Only assemblage, photomontage, and other experimental photographic techniques.
Garcin greatly resonates with us as a brand because he takes back photography to its craftsmanship, artisanal origins and contents: hands-on and playful. Necessary and timeless.
the editorial team.
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UNTAMED STREET is a contemporary men’s and women’s footwear brand, born from the union of London creative spirit with the Italian art of shoemaking. Our design code is inspired by modern and progressive arts, monochrome photography and urban landscapes. Bold and unapologetic, we blur the boundaries between art and fashion, embedding techniques used by painters and contemporary artists and fusing the artistry of luxury with the ethos and aspirations of modern city life.
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